Kahquah’s Got Talent — Fam Camp 1 Edition

I hope, wherever you were tonight (or last night, for some of you reading), that your skies were as clear as they were here at Camp.  It was welcomed after steady rain the night before.  But tonight, if you look up at the sky here at Camp, I recommend you not stare too hard, because there are so many layers upon layers of stars that you risk a dizzy spell and falling over.  It’s breathtaking.  Does it make anyone else feel really small?  It sure does it to me.

Our Algonquin Adventure 2 kids arrived back today, and the first thing they had to do was set all their tents back out and hang all their gear out to dry.  Wednesday night was a soaker.  Graeme told me the story of them getting to their campsite spot on Wednesday night, and how they paddled right into a mass of clouds that they could just tell were going to open up.  They pulled their canoes up on shore, set up camp, and no sooner than they had everything up did it start to pour.  They were protected from having to paddle in the rain though, except for a bit this morning, so we are thankful for that.

Following Melissa’s talk in Chapel this morning (side note:  I hear her husband, Adam, is quite the guitar player and worship leader!  Thanks for jumping in, Adam!), we had a baptism at the lake.  I always love watching people be baptized in the lake, because the choice to be baptized at Camp always seems to hold such personal significance.  There’s a reason that over the 5 years I’ve been staff here, I’ve probably watched a dozen baptisms.  People feel at home here, and we love it.  Congratulations, Adam, and thanks Bill for helping this happen here for him, like he wanted.

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At Dinner tonight, we celebrated Chris and Sherri’s son Isaac’s 2nd birthday.  He’ll be 2 on Monday, but they’ve gone home for a week so we wanted to make sure we showed him our love!  If you want to see some great pictures of the look on a 2 year old’s face as sparklers are set on the table sticking out of a cupcake right in front of him, check them out.  Sadly, we didn’t capture the moment where he almost shoved the cupcakes away because he was quite apprehensive of the sparklers, but as you can see, he cheered up quite quickly.
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This evening, we had a talent show in the Chapel.  I saw all kinds of talent!  I think my favourite act though was the “throwing pebbles in the water” skit.  This brought back all kinds of memories for me, because when I was a kids’ camper, my cabin did this all three years.  My first year as a Camper, I’m pretty sure I was “Pebbles,” so you can imagine how entertaining it was for me to see a whole new generation of kids doing this skit.  There were other awesome things as well, like Ashley singing the song she wrote about running and singing, which were two things she was told she’d never be able to do again after her car accident a year ago, and yet here she is, and she’s done them both every day.  What an amazing testament to God’s power.

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Following the Talent Show, there were sundaes and floats in the dining hall.  I was introduced to (and refused to try) sundaes with Nerds on them.  I suppose I probably shouldn’t mention it in here, because we’re almost out of Nerds in the tuck shop and now people will want to do it next week, but oh well!  You’ll have to buy surprise bags and put gummy candy on your sundaes instead.  Or Smarties.  I suppose a tangy Sundae isn’t the worst thing….. right?

Patience, Gentleness, and a bag full of shoes.

We started today out with clouds, and a thinly veiled sun hiding behind them.  The sun did appear later on, and it warmed up a bit.  As I write this (as quickly as I can to avoid losing an internet connection), it’s raining outside.  While I don’t envy those in the campground because we’ve had kind of a wet week, I do have to say that I love love love the sound of rain on the roof on a tent.  I do very much hope that you all stayed dry through the night, though.

During Chapel, Melissa talked on Patience and Gentleness, which go hand in hand.  She started with a very fitting visual — a bag with 8 shoes in it.  She described how a huge thing for her, having four children under 6, has been the battle to get all four kids to have shoes on to go outside to play.  Having taught Kindergarten, and preparing to do it again this year, I completely understand.  It’s quite the task.  She taught that patience and gentleness are qualities of Jesus (all of the Fruits of the Spirit are, go figure, huh?), and that we should be working to display those.  Being patient means we’re slow to anger, slow to speak, and quick to listen.  This applies to all parts of our lives though, and has links to all those things we strive for and work toward, waiting and waiting, growing more and more anxious when they don’t work out.  When we’re patient, trusting God for His plans in our lives, we’re able to wait without becoming agitated and upset.

On Jared’s Nature Hike, the Colemans showed up again to go visit the Beaver Dam.  I had a chat with Patrick before dinner, and he expressed how impressed he was with Jared’s knowledge.  He sent me a few pictures, which you can check out on the blog at campkahquahblog.wordpress.com.  You may have to ask him for an explanation about the tree, though, because the only info he emailed me with the picture was “poo tree.”  The other picture appears to be of a growth of fungus (probably mushrooms), but it sure looks like it sticks out from among the brown and green that most of the rest of the vegetation would be coloured!


a tree that bears climb to get beech nuts from... you can see the claw marks on the tree.

a tree that bears climb to get beech nuts from… you can see the claw marks on the tree.

the beaver pond

the beaver pond

giant orange fungus of some sort

giant orange fungus of some sort

"the poo tree"

“the poo tree”

The beach was well used today!  I was amused when I went down to snap some pictures when I found a group of boys enjoying their “water battle,” which, when I was down there, looked like an opportunity to shoot water at their leaders from the lake.  There was a lot of squealing, giggling, and general merriment.  There was also some fun on the beach, some fishing, some tubing (I snuck a pic of some of the Tyrrell clan coming in from tubing), and some paddle boarding.

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After dinner, there were a few events.  I loved watching the girls have their hair played with while they watched Tangled in the Pine Room, as well as a group working very diligently on a puzzle.  I heard that the talk on Pain and Comfort in the Chapel with Frank went well.  Ladies Craft in the dining hall was lovely.  Karen found something called ZenTangles on the Internet, which are basically a series of sectioned-off doodles done in black and white.  I intended to take a bunch of pictures while I doodled, but I ended up working so intently on mine, that I didn’t touch my camera until I was done and pretty much everyone else had moved on to other things.  I barely even picked up my head.

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The sorrow may last through the night, but JOY comes with the morning.

Today started off right with some great worship led by Liz and Chris.  Melissa came today to speak to us about joy.  She reminded us that joy is not an emotion, but rather a choice.  It’s something that we have to actively pursue, and it’s something that we can’t achieve on our own.  Joy is not an emotion, though.  Melissa taught that joy is different from something like happiness, where it wouldn’t be appropriate to be happy all the time.  Can you imagine if you were pouring your heart out to a dear friend in a time of brokenness and they were so happy they were busting at the seams?  It would be terrible.  However, even in such cases, while we can empathize with our loved ones in their situations, we can be joyful in all things.  Joyfulness starts with gratitude.  It starts with being thankful for the things that we have, instead of consistently striving for the things that we don’t.  Melissa compared the striving to that feeling of “if I could just have …… (you fill in your own blank, I know what mine are), then I could finally be happy.”  When we strive and wait to bank our happiness and contentment on things other than resting in the love of God and the plans He has for our lives, we can never truly get there.  It was a convicting message, I think, for a lot of us, as I saw teary eyes and understanding faces when Melissa was finished.

It seems that Melissa’s family of young children, part of her many reasons to be grateful and joyful, are really enjoying themselves here at Camp!  The boys may have needed a nap after lunch, though, as they were pretty well passed out.

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After lunch, Jared, who’s been leading wilderness training throughout the past four weeks of kids’ camp, took three people on a wilderness hike on the Hiawatha Trail.  When Jared returned with the Colemans, they told me tales of eating berries, balsam, and wintergreen leaves that they found along the trail, as well as learning about “Nature’s Toilet Paper.”  I think they’re probably pretty thankful that Jared didn’t have them eat grasshoppers or ants, but it seemed like they had a wonderful walk.  Jared is leading another hike, this time to the Beaver Dam, on Wednesday.  Children under 12 will need to be accompanied by an adult, but this should prove to be very educational as well.  Jared is great at what he does!


Also this afternoon, I saw some of our staff tie-dying, I saw some canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding, I saw many boats out, but I didn’t see a great deal of people actually IN the water.  I might know why, though.  I don’t think I’d go in the water if it meant I had to get out of my jeans and my hoodie first.  It was not the warmest of days, here, but the warmth starts to return tomorrow and into Wednesday and Thursday, which will be welcomed.  I saw sandcastle-building, and “Uncle Trevor” burying at the beach, as well as tummy time with Wyatt Taylor, and Vernon doing pushups with Chris and Sherri’s youngest, Isaac.  It’s so nice to spend time with every new generation of Camp Kids.

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After dinner tonight, there was a scavenger hunt for the kids, as well as a Capital Campaign Prayer, Information, and Worship session in the Chapel.  I was not in attendance, but it is my understanding that the prayer time was very moving, and it was evident that the people who attended have a heart for our Capital Building Campaign.  It’s wonderful to have that supportive backing.  Thanks to everyone who attended 🙂


Oh, and… check these out!  Just because.

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Welcome to Family Camp.  Last night, in a super secretive, super surprise endeavour, we celebrated Liz’s 16 or 17 (or something like that) years of service to us here at Kahquah.  She started with us as a Camper quite young, and once she became old enough to be Staff, she started in various roles, building her skills as a leader.  Liz was very humble though, admitting that it was all things she’s been able to do for God’s Glory, and that she’s been incredibly grateful for this opportunity to serve and impact the lives of kids.  Many of her closest friends and some of the members of the board, as well as several staff that have gone from being campers chilling with Liz, to staff working with Liz paid tribute with speeches and songs.  As a small token of our thanks, Liz was presented with a Camp Kahquah blanket, along with an original water-colour painting of loons in front of the Jesus Saves rock, painted by Amanda Peel, former director Ken’s daughter and local artist from the Niagara Region.

Check out some pictures from last night’s party.

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Liz was VERY surprised!!

Liz was VERY surprised!!

Trish found out how much Liz loves no-bake cheesecake, so check out this masterpiece!

Trish found out how much Liz loves no-bake cheesecake, so check out this masterpiece!

In completely unrelated news, it POURED yesterday evening, so for those who are coming in the next couple weeks and are concerned about repeat performances of last year’s nearly all-summer-long fire-ban, we’d like to assure you that so far, you’ve got nothing to fear.

This morning was our first Chapel Service of week 1 Family Camp.  Liz and Chris led us in worship, and then Pastor Melissa Richer gave her first message today on the Fruits of the Spirit.  She told a very moving story about a little girl named Eileen who was abused as a kid, and taken away from her parents.  The little girl and her brother both ended up being adopted, by different people, but the family that adopted Eileen was a Minister and his wife who had prayed for a long time before the day they went to the orphanage to choose who they’d adopt, that they’d find just the right girl that God wanted in their family.  Well, they found her.  The Minister went right to Eileen and said “this is our daughter.”  Melissa then talked about love as one of the fruits of the Spirit, and how the actions of that Minister left a legacy of love.  Without the actions of that Minister who trusted God wholeheartedly, a Jesus-trusting family would never have been born.  Eventually, through that legacy, Melissa was able to have a conversation with her great grandmother, Eileen.

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In more completely unrelated news, Jillian, Karen, and Reagan (I think with some help earlier from Brittany) tackled the programming closet today.  Check out the before, with everything from in the closet spread throughout the hall, and the after, as the ladies started to put everything back in in an organized and tidy fashion.  It looks lovely, now we can only hope that it stays that way.  Jillian has 3 buckets of foamies in there, and she looks THRILLED to see them.  Doesn’t she!?  Oh, and we found Gangnam Style socks…. WHY!?  I don’t know.  I really really don’t.

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Last night, we had a campfire followed by a very busy Sundae and Float night.  This is the first Campfire we’ve run camp-wide at Family Camp, or at least, not in as long as I can remember.  Sherri planned and ran it, and did an excellent job.  There were skits, there were games, there were songs… there was feeding of butter tarts by couples without using their hands.  There were kids getting each other ready for the day to start, with their eyes covered, using each other as hands….. water was poured, teeth were brushed, pudding was eaten.  Thanks to all who came out!!

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I don’t think I can say much more with a picture like that at the end…. I think the words to this part of the song went “eek!  a bug!” as Frank has decided if he weren’t Camp Staff, he’d be an exterminator….. until tomorrow!!